I recently read a post on Johnny B. Truant’s blog that really hit home. So much so that I wanted to do two things: share it with my readers and 2) think on and write about each piece of his post. The post is “20 Truths About Life No One Wants To Believe” and the next one I am going to tackle is:
12. Nobody cares if you succeed. This is the corollary to #11 above. Think Aunt Margaret will push your new book to all of her friends? Think that famous person who could really help you will hop on board with your fantastic idea? Nope. They don’t give a shit. Not really. They have their own issues. Your successes are up to you.
To the extent that people think about how you might be changing, it’s mostly them worrying about how you’ll change as you change.
They will fear that you will leave them and/or make them feel bad about the things they’re not doing.
You can continue to love them and want the best for them, but you can’t allow them to hold you back – even if that holding-you-back-ness comes in the form of you not moving forward because they are not outwardly supporting you.*
It is the rare peer that will encourage you to do something “risky;” something that will likely result in you “leaving.”
I grant you that my explanation for why folks don’t care if you succeed may not follow exactly from Johnny’s words above, but they are definitely part of the “dynamic.”
I think Johnny was referring to the fact that people have enough to worry about without consciously carving out time and energy to support you – and that’s true.
But there is, to my mind, something happening below the surface that – if unacknowledged and not constructively addressed – will quietly sabotage a change effort.
We greatly value our memberships in our various tribes and to the extent that our emotional brain thinks a particular membership is vital to our survival (as they were in prehistoric times) it will choose allegiance to that tribe – and won’t allow for a risk to be taken or a goal to be pursued.
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* Meaning, don’t wait for anyone to explicitly/outwardly/particularly support any change effort you undertake – you may be waiting for a long time.